Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Past, Present, Future: Breckinridge Hall

As we exit Grote-Thompson Hall to the right, we come to a building that also stands with Thompson and Rader as structures of the original crescent of University Boulevard. 

Perhaps the most familiar of campus buildings to older generations of Rowan County natives is Breckinridge Hall.  Breckinridge was erected on the corner of University Boulevard amidst the huge campus oak trees in 1931 to provide Morehead State Normal School with its own laboratory for teacher training. 

A four-story classroom and office building, Breckinridge was named in honor of Robert J. Breckinridge, a former State School Superintendent.  Previously known to many as Breckinridge Training School and University Breckinridge School, it was used for 51 years as the University’s laboratory for prospective teacher training in which all 12 grades were housed.  The students who attended Breckinridge Training School were commonly referred to as “Breck Brats.” 

When university status was granted in 1966, just after the building was expanded in 1965, the Board of Regents approved the name change to University Breckinridge.  Poor economic times forced the University to merge University Breckinridge with the Rowan County school system in 1981.  The training school provided a rare and unique education for students until it was finally closed for good in 1982.  Some of the school’s faculty transitioned to teaching college courses at MSU.   

The spirit of “Breck” lives on in the hearts of so many who attended and because of this, The Breckinridge School Society was established in June of 1993.

With the departure of the high school, the facility was closed for renovation. The $14 million project was completed and an expanded and renovated Breckinridge Hall was reopened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 10, 2002, “dedicated to the proud past of Morehead State University and to the bright promise of its future.” The renovation allowed various areas to be named for special individuals including: W. David Brown Seminar Room, Capt. Michael K. Gallagher Audio Studio, Kozy Hamilton Costume Shop, Harlen Hamm Speech Suite, Lucille Caudill Little Theatre, Larry Netherton News Production Booth, Mary Jo Netherton Foreign Language Lab, and the Thom Yancy Television Seminar Room.

Today, Breckinridge Hall is home to the Department of Communication and Media and Leadership Studies for Morehead State University.  It also houses two programs from the Department of Music, Theater and Dance, and foreign languages.

The award-winning, National Public Radio affiliate, Morehead State Public Radio also operates out of Breckinridge.

Like its neighbor to the left, “Breck” resides on the National Register of Historic Places as it proudly stands boasting a truly diverse and rich historic background 86 years after construction.

Breckinridge 2017

Breckinridge 1948

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